SBD/Issue 87/Events & Attractions

Winter X Games 11 Hits The Slopes Of Aspen With New Events

Winter X Games 11 Begins Today In Aspen
Winter X Games 11, which starts today at Aspen’s Buttermilk mountain, has added medal events in Snowboard Best Trick Showdown, Mono-Skier X and Snowmobile Freestyle, and retired Moto X after a six-year stint, according to Christine Benedetti of the ASPEN DAILY NEWS. In Snowmobile Freestyle, riders “launch 500-pound machines into the air attempting the same gravity-defying stunts” as in Moto X. Snowmobile freestyle has “gained notoriety in recent years.” It appeared during Winter X Games 8 and last season Red Bull “picked up the sport, touring North America with freestyle shows at ski resorts and during major sporting events.” ESPN Manager of Event Publicity & Athlete Relations Katie Moses Swope: “Moto X is still a staple in our summer games, and it remains a pillar there.” She said that Moto X riders “were consulted about the event change, and they were in support of the decision” (ASPEN DAILY NEWS, 1/23).

LOOKING GOOD: Total prize money for Winter X Games 11 is $726,100, with an individual top purse of $20,000 (L.A. TIMES, 1/25). Total attendance for the event has increased 92% since it was first held in Aspen in ’02. The 69,650 spectators in ’06 were the second-most in five years and ESPN’s broadcasts reached a record 747,130 HHs. Winter X Games host Sal Masekela said the event has received a “huge continued shot in the arm” from the participation of Olympic snowboarders like Shaun White, Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 1/25). Moses Swope said that 45 of the 250 competitors this year are Olympians (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/25). Twenty-eight Winter X Games 10 athletes competed at the Turin Games (ASPEN TIMES, 1/22).

GREEN LIGHT: Also in Aspen, Scott Condon reported Aspen Skiing Co. — which owns Buttermilk — the city of Aspen and environmental group MaroonCorps are teaming with the X Games “to inspire those in attendance to learn about global warming.” They “hope several thousand people will be inspired enough to call the White House and leave a message for President Bush to take action on climate change.” The coalition is also “trying to enlist some athletes to wear a green ‘savesnow’ armband while competing and giving interviews” (ASPEN TIMES, 1/23).

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